Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group cuts stake in Vietnam mill

Formosa Petrochemical Corp (FPC), a subsidiary of Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group, has lowered its stake in Vietnam-based Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp to 14.75% from 21.25%.

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The company made the announcement in a September 26 posting on a public information website linked to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

An official at Formosa Ha Tinh declined to comment on the development when asked by Steel First, saying “all employees in Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp are prohibited from making any comment to the public about shares-shifting”.

According to FPC’s announcement, its investment in the Vietnamese project will be cut by $228 million to $516 million as a result of the share reduction.

It said the reduction was based on the company’s needs, but did not elaborate.

Taipei Times reported on September 28 that each of the Taiwanese conglomerate’s four major units – Formosa Plastics Corp, Nan Ya Plastics Corp, Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp and Formosa Petrochemical Corp – had decided to reduce their stakes in Formosa Ha Tinh to 14.75% from 21.25%.

The group reportedly said that it aimed to secure partners in the global steel business to help it push the Vietnam project forward since steel production is not the four subsidiaries’ core business.

Formosa Ha Tinh, which is expected to be the largest integrated steel mill in Southeast Asia upon its completion, is being constructed on a greenfield site in the central Vietnamese province of Ha Tinh. Formosa Plastics Group, through its subsidiaries, is the majority owner.

The project in Vietnam involves the construction of six blast furnaces by 2020, which would result in 21.85 million tpy of crude steel production capacity once fully completed.

The plant is to be built in two phases. Construction under the first phase, which began in December 2012, is slated for completion in 2015.